Last updated: 9/7/17
By: Jeremy Pierotti
I didn’t know it at the time, but just this year a family member of mine faced serious health complications because of an interoperability challenge. Fortunately, Julie (not her real name), faced no serious consequences. She’s doing well, back into her typical active routine. But, Julie endured a frustrating experience while in the hospital for two days following a routine procedure. While she was hospitalized, a basic information gap impeded high quality patient care. This makes our work at Sansoro Health hit even closer to home.
Following a cardiac ablation procedure, Julie had a severe reaction and the hospital admitted her for two days. During her stay, the doctors and nursing staff were unable to access her clinic’s electronic medical record (EMR). Julie’s cardiologist had prescribed a specific medication to treat her Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib) condition – but the hospital staff was unable to see that information. Thus, for those couple days in the hospital, Julie wasn’t getting the right medication. This is serious stuff: untreated or under-treated A-Fib is a significant and potentially life-threatening situation.
How could this happen – in 2017 – when in nearly all other areas of our lives, critical information is accessible at our fingertips? Sadly, the root causes appear too frequently.
- Julie’s cardiology clinic and her hospital use different EMRs
- The hospital and clinic lacked an efficient means to share medical records for the same patient across the two different EMRs
- Since Julie’s hospitalization occurred over the weekend, her cardiologist’s office was closed and the cardiologist was unreachable; and
- Julie and her husband did not have access to a patient portal that would show them what medication her cardiologist had prescribed.
Left with no other choice, and once Julie’s condition stabilized, her husband drove home to retrieve the medicine, so the hospital staff could order and administer the correct medication.
This is an example where insufficient software tools led directly to suboptimal health outcomes and higher medical costs. While Julie was lucky to have the prescription at home (and someone able to retrieve it), this gap in clinical care could have been avoided.
Closing interoperability gaps
I admire the GetMyHealthData campaign, which promotes the value of consumers having ready, electronic access to their medical records. As the campaign notes, “many times in health care today, medical records are trapped in filing cabinets and computer systems of doctors’ offices and hospitals.” Julie’s story reflects this reality.
Solving this problem will require improved software, different public policy and better financial incentives. I would not claim that Sansoro’s software closes all of the technology gap. But, for those providers looking to improve interoperability by making it easier for EMRs and other software to exchange real-time patient data, we are your champion.
Before co-founding Sansoro Health, I had the privilege of helping some of the world’s greatest healthcare providers install EMRs. Now it’s time to unleash the full value of those EMRs. For those looking to innovate faster, improve outcomes and lower costs, we have a simple goal: to free you to achieve what matters most.
Closing the gap
How Tampa General Hospital achieved full interoperability